EICN delivers keynote speech at Panduit’s GSIC Partner Summit 2022

By Sumana Rajarethnam, South-east Asia director

At the Panduit GSIC event a couple of weeks ago, Economist Intelligence Corporate Network had the opportunity to talk about our outlook for 2023. The challenges at this point are well-known – the global economy will continue to face major headwinds in 2023, most notably from the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global monetary tightening and an economic slowdown in China.

The war is affecting the global economy via higher commodity prices, supply chain disruptions and Russia’s weaponisation of energy supplies, and we think that will persist throughout 2023.

Due to the difficulty of travel out of China, my colleague Weisi Xie did a “mirror” presentation in China even as the rest of the event was livestreamed across both locations.

The questions we got from the floor were great, but my favourite one was a difficult question on our expectations for the Malaysian election. At that point, before the election, we expected UMNO to form the next coalition – we were wrong about that – UMNO had their worst performance in an election. 

However, we expected that the next government would lack a comfortable parliamentary majority because of the ongoing political fragmentation, and that seems to be the case as Malaysia waits with bated breath to find out who their next PM is. That fragmentation will keep political risk high in Malaysia, though we expect policy making continue, as parties now have experience working with each other over the last 4 years.

On a panel with Jamey Swigert, Tom Walsh, Tom Kelly and John Buck, we discussed how we expect supply chains to shorten more, what companies were doing to create more resilience in their supply chains, the short/long term divergence in the green transition and the future with regard to remote, hybrid or in-person office (that’s a term now!) work.

In conversations with the broader Panduit community, the theme of supply chain shortening and supply chain challenges resonated – many of them are dealing with similar issues whether they are in Sydney or Delhi, or anywhere in between. Infrastructure, especially digital infrastructure in cities across Asia, is continuing at a healthy pace, as stalled projects get greenlighted post-pandemic – adding to the supply chain challenges.

Thanks for being great hosts and the insights on the year ahead, Harry Woo and Shannon McDaniel.

Special shout out to Thomas Poh for all his support in lining up our presentation. Hope to be at the 2023 event!